There’s something unusual about Facebook’s new ad for Facebook Home, its mobile phone takeover app: It’s actually quite good (video below).
Better than good, in fact.
You’ll like it.
Finally, there are signs that Facebook is figuring out how to market itself in a world where the “easy” early adopters are already on board (if you can describe the gathering of 1 billion users as “easy”).
The ad shows CEO Mark Zuckerberg excitedly telling his staff about Facebook Home. Suddenly, one of YouTube’s goats who scream like humans starts bleating at him. Then a lawnmower race breaks out in the office. Then a guy in boxers climbs on a desk to do a cannonball into a non-existent swimming pool.
What’s happening is that one Zuckerberg employee, the hipster with the beard, is checking his Facebook Home rather than listening to his boss. It’s a sly in-joke about Zuckerberg’s less-than-stellar presenting skills. And an acknowledgment that everyone likes to check their phone when a meeting becomes boring.
More importantly, the ad is normal. Previously, Facebook has made some weird ads. One featured drag queens on a plane. The other suggested that Facebook was in some deeply philosophical way akin to a chair.
Both those ads triggered quick negative reactions form viewers.
Too clever for their own good, basically.
This ad uses a bunch of hokey physical jokes to make its point. It’s not suggesting that that the company is so amazingly special or hip that ordinary people might not “get” it.
That’s an important step: For years, there has been tension between Facebook’s management and employees, and their users. Management has been frustrated at the way ordinary people — its users — have adjusted to change, whether it be privacy, sharing or even just the look of the site.
But it’s been years since Facebook’s prime users were young, hip, early adopters who love change. Facebook right now is the thing your mum uses to post family photos. Your local pub advertises drink specials on it. It’s a decidedly ordinary utility for most of its users.
Which is why this ad is good: Because it’s shot from the point of view of an ordinary user, not some super-hip weirdo (even though he does work at Facebook and have a hipster beard).
Facebook’s lead agency is Wieden & Kennedy.
Disclosure: The author owns Facebook stock.
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